In many ways 2012 mirrored 2011 in the development of Litigation Support and eDiscovery talent. Demand for talent remained moderate to strong throughout 2012, while salary ranges remained relatively flat experiencing modest cost of living adjustments of 3 to 5 percent in base compensation.

The Cowen Group’s Seventh Annual Salary Survey identified four critical trends in 2012 that will affect the demand for talent in 2013.

  • Large firms with a strategic focus on providing eDiscovery services to their clients pay significantly more than mid-market firms. Moving to fill an urgent need at an established department can increase salaries by $15,000 to $50,000.
  • Large firms with a less established eDiscovery service offering are recruiting Senior Attorneys and Partners to develop a market leading practice area with staff attorneys, internal Litigation Support teams, and a network of strategic partnerships.
  • More law firms are anticipating adding talent.
    • 70% reported plans to hire in 2013 up from 53% in 2012 and 60% in 2011.
  • Salary growth is higher—firms were more likely to report raises of 5% to 7% range, where in prior years raises were in the 3% to 4% range.

As forecasted by our 2011 Salary Survey and Market Landscape, staff expansion continued at large established firms with sophisticated litigation support departments, broad client support and executive leadership. A handful of firms took strategic steps to modernize their litigation support offering and increase the capacity and capabilities of their teams. The majority of the market continued to make replacement hires or modest additions to their staffs where necessary. These replacement hires were driven by the shift the industry continues to experience in the flow of talent from law firms to vendors and corporations.

Why the Shift?

Throughout our thought leadership series and research efforts in 2012, the community remarked on the increase of corporate control, heightened regulatory requirements and enforcement actions at a state and federal level, the rise of managed services, and the small but significant amount of law firms building their own internal vendor as contributing factors for the shift in talent. These drivers will most likely continue to put competitive pressure on law firm service models and hiring plans extending and increasing the talent flow between firms, vendors and corporations in 2013.


To learn more about the shift in talent and other compensation trends, view The Cowen Group’s Seventh Annual Salary Report